I get asked every day what kitchen tools I recommend, what I own or would I buy them. I’m also a big believer that the right tools in the kitchen can make you a better cook. Although I had cooked most of my life, it wasn’t until I met my Irishman that I really got into slow cooking. At first, I totally dismissed the need for a good quality cast iron french oven, deeming it totally not necessary. I even bought a cheap, really awful version that lasted a whole three months! How wrong I was. There is something about the way slow cooking in cast iron breaks down the meat and reduces the liquid like nothing else. I won’t even go into the flavour! Anyhoo, lesson learned. I’m now a big fan of having the right tools when doing a job. Anyway, I’ve narrowed it down and these are the 10 kitchen tools every cook needs…
An absolute must for bakers. Kitchenaid’s stand mixers are the best for good reason. But which one? I’ve owned both the KSM150 and the Proline 7L Bowl Lift. I love them both, however, unless you are baking A LOT, the KSM150/160 series will do everything you need it to. I have never found the KSM150’s 4.8L bowl too small, and you can still whisk a single egg white in it. Whether it’s cakes, cookies or pizza dough, this is one thing I can’t live without in my kitchen.
Kitchen tip. Never mix dough above a speed 2 in your KitchenAid. Your dough won’t like it and you risk burning out your motor.
A good set of measuring cups and spoons are worth their weight in gold because the difference between 1/4 teaspoon of chilli and 1/2 teaspoon chilli can be a whole lotta heat! These ones are dishwasher safe, will go the distance (they’re super tough) and work a treat.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you would know about my love for cast iron cookware. I use my cast iron frypan every day. From my Sunday morning omelette to baking a loaf of sourdough, pancakes, whipping up pasta or pan-frying the perfect steak. Use it in the oven as well as on the stovetop It’s a workhorse and well worth investing in a good enamelled cast iron version.
Kitchen Tip. Start your steak on the stovetop and once it’s flipped, finish in the oven. It keeps those steak juices from drying out!
Do you have a favourite utensil that you always grab when cooking? I have two! Maybe three. Yes, definitely three. If you haven’t heard of Dreamfarm, this one is for you… These guys make the BEST kitchen utensils. Full stop. There is no one else. First is the Supoon. Yep, that is its real name and not a typo. It’s a silicon kitchen spoon, tablespoon measure, it scrapes and sits off the bench so there is not staining those white stone benchtops. I have two. It even comes in a smaller version, the mini Supoon, that scrapes every last bit out of jars. Just what you need when you’re feeding your sourdough. Enough said!
Ballon, sauce, flat, egg… So many whisks in my kitchen draw. I clearly like my whisks! l tend to use my balloon and silicon the most. Because most of my pots are enamelled cast iron, silicon is a great option as it won’t scratch or mark your pans, however, sometimes you need a little more strength. A good quality stainless steel balloon whisk is essential for whisking eggs, making a quick cake icing, or whipping a little cream.
6. Cook’s Knife
The single most important kitchen tool. My biggest bit of advice for a cook’s knife is to hold the knife to make sure it’s comfortable in your hand. So many people fall in love with the look of a knife, forgoing comfort. This Kasumi chef’s knife is a favourite of mine. It’s lightweight, holds its edge, and slices through everything like it’s butter. If you are a regular cook, a good knife is invaluable as are the right tools to keep it sharp. Don’t fall into the trap of a big fancy set (unless that is the look you are going for). Most people only need 3 good knives, a 20cm chef, 15cm utility and a bread knife.
Kitchen Tip: Japanese steel knives hold their edge much longer than European made knives, however, due to their softer steel, they aren’t suitable for some European style kitchen jobs, eg cutting through hard rind cheeses, bones, large hard root vegetables, etc. Personally, I have both. My preference is always quality Japanese steel, but my food style is very European, so I have a European chef knife for those harder jobs, so I don’t do any damage.
7. Rolling Pin
Because how else do we roll out the pizza dough? or pastry? or crush biscuits for a cheesecake base or fondant for a birthday cake. A good rolling pin is a cooks essential.
Kitchen Tip: I rarely wash my rolling pin. Unless it’s super dirty with lots of bits stuck to it, a wipedown with a damp cloth will do. Never immerse your rolling pin in water (or timber chopping boards for that matter)
8. Baking Tray
Baking trays can mean the difference between burnt cookie bottoms and perfectly cooked ones. I have them in a couple of different shapes and sizes for roasting root vegetables, cooking pizza, baking sweet treats and everything in between.
A good food processor can turn 30 minutes of slicing vegetables into a 2-minute job. Think a homemade potato bake ready for the oven in 5 minutes, or a quick coleslaw for ten of your closest friends in under 10 minutes. Food processors make quick work of big slicing/shredding jobs. They also make the best pastry without overworking it. Depending on the model they can also blend, mix, whip, julienne, chop. Personally, I’m a Magimix girl. They seriously last forever, and I don’t know what I’d do without mine – it’s such a timesaver!
Kitchen tip: Big food processors aren’t necessarily the only option. Magimix makes small food processors like the Mini which are perfect for small amounts. They do nearly everything a larger model like the 5200xl does just in smaller quantities.
10. Fine Grater
A fine, rasp grater has so many uses… grating cheese, ginger, and chocolate. I love a rasp grater as opposed to a box grater, purely because I can place the grater over my pots and grate straight into them. Perfect for when you are making a cheese sauce on top of the stove, finishing a gratin or grating dark chocolate over a tray of tiramisu.
Ok, so that’s my top 10 kitchen tools I can’t live without. What are yours? Let me know in the comments!